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Education and Employment

Education

During this period of national lockdown, schools and colleges remain open only to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers. All other children learn remotely. All children with an EHC Plan are classed as vulnerable.

For the full definition of vulnerable child see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

The full list of critical workers can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

Guidance for further education colleges during the national lockdown is available here:  www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision.  

Early years settings such as nurseries remain open.

Higher education provision remains online for all except future critical worker courses.

On 27th January the Government announced that plans for reopening schools will be released around 22 February with the expectation that it will be safe to begin reopening schools from 8 March 2021.

See the Prime Minister’s statement here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-statement-to-the-house-of-commons-on-coronavirus-27-january-2021.  

GCSE and A level exams will not be going ahead this summer. In place of exams in summer 2021 it has been proposed that a student’s grade is based on the teacher’s assessment of ability. A government consultation ran till 29 January 2021 and the feedback is being analysed. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-how-gcse-as-and-a-level-grades-should-be-awarded-in-summer-2021

Other useful resources:

The full government guidance on education, universities and childcare can be viewed here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare

An update from IPSEA on SEN provision during lockdown:

https://www.ipsea.org.uk/news/ipsea-update-on-covid-19-school-closures-and-sen-provision

Special needs Jungle has resources to support families with special needs: https://www.specialneedsjungle.com/latest-coronavirus-information-relevant-for-send-families/

Employment

There are schemes to support the income of people out of work due to COVID-19 through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but that does not cover self-employed workers, and is applied for employers. If you’re not eligible for statutory sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit and/or Employment and Support Allowance.

Individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer be required to shield from 1 August. This means those who are unable to work from home but can work on site should do so, providing the workplace is COVID-safe. Employers are encouraged to help their employees to transition back to work safely and support them to follow strict social distancing in the workplace. Individuals will no longer be eligible for SSP on the basis of being clinically extremely vulnerable.

If shielding guidance is reintroduced, either in the case of local lockdowns or nationally, and individuals receive a notification advising them to shield, they will be eligible to receive SSP again if they meet all eligibility criteria.

The government has issued information for employees here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

and information for employers here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

More here: www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/

HMRC has a new helpline number: 0800 024 1222 which is open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. 

The government has issued an explanation of how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance. This guidance applies to those that have continued to work as well as those that have been furloughed.  

The government set up a portal on all things related to employment and benefits during Coronavirus in early June: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/#lse

There have been changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 1 August 2020. The scheme will no longer fund employers’ National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions. Employers will have to make these payments from their own resources for all employees, whether furloughed or not. Further information can be found on GOV.UK.

 In relation to self-employed people, the government introduced the ‘Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)’.  The first stage of this has now closed, however the scheme has been extended. A claim for a second – and currently final – grant can be made from 17th August. SEISS is for those who earn less than £50,000 per year, if they can provide evidence of earnings through tax returns, representing 3 months of average earnings, with a ceiling of £2,500 per month. Options for newly self-employed people without tax return evidence will be to claim Universal Credit and or business loans. If you’re self-employed, claiming Universal Credit and having to stay at home because of COVID-19, the minimum income floor rules do not apply. From 6 April there will be a “temporary relaxation” of minimum income floor rules, and self-employed people claiming Universal Credit will not have to attend job centre appointments to demonstrate what their work is.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme